Torquay, VIC (19 June 2017) – Local surf and lifestyle industry organisations have taken a proactive step in addressing the wellbeing of their staff and young customer base, completing Mental Health First Aid Training.

Led by Dragon Alliance, the group participated in the Surf Coast Shire Council-run course on 15 June and16 June. Employees from Dragon, Strapper, XTM, Rip Curl, Quiksilver, Surfing Victoria, Torquay Boardriders, Go Ride A Wave and the Bells 50 Year Storm Invitational surf event learnt about the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions and the importance of early detection, so the person is treated and supported.

Dragon Director Mark Hudson said it was beneficial for people in the surf and lifestyle industry to have the information and tools to support young people. “We know that mental illness is a condition that many of our local young people are dealing with either directly or indirectly,” he said.

“All of the organisations which participated in the training are in regular contact with this vulnerable age group – whether it’s serving them as a customer in store, being an employee or supporting them as they chase their surfing dream. We were keen to soak up as much knowledge as possible about how to assist people who might be struggling.”

Torquay Ward Councillor Martin Duke praised the surf industry for their hands-on approach in supporting young people, which aligns with the work of Surf Coast Shire Council’s Youth Development team. “The health and wellbeing of our young people was identified as a key issue in our youth survey last year,” Cr Duke said.

“To see these industry leaders put their hand up to improve their understanding of mental health is admirable. It’s also great that Council as an organisation is continuing to empower people on how they can play their part in addressing this important issue.”

Surf Coast Shire Council and participating organisations are supporting Surfing Victoria’s Bells 50 Year Storm Invitational, held in memory of talented surfer Shaun Brooks who died by suicide in 2012 after a long struggle with mental illness. The event will welcome the Surf Coast’s best surfers on the biggest swell at Bells this winter.

For more information on this or future mental health training courses, please contact Dragon Alliance on 03 5261 6660 or email zoe@dragonalliance.com.au.


For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.